Like many an exclusive club, the medical program subjects its prospective members to rigorous indoctrination: medical students are overloaded with work, deprived of sleep and normal human contact, drilled and tested and scheduled down to the last minute. Difficult as the regimen may be, people who don't fit the traditional mold—white, male, middle-to-upper class, and heterosexual—medical program can be that much more agonizing. This fascinating article tells the tales of a new generation of medical students—students whose varied backgrounds are far from traditional. Their stories will forever alter the way we see tomorrow's doctors.
This reminds me of a black teenage mother who overcomes seemingly insurmountable odds, an observant Muslim dons the hijab during training, an alcoholic hides her addiction. We hear the stories of an Asian refugee, a Mexican immigrant, a closeted Christian, an over-sized woman—these once unlikely students are among those who describe their medical program experiences with uncommon probity, giving a close-up look at the inflexible curriculum, the pervasive competitive culture, and the daunting obstacles that come with being "different" in medical program. Their tales of courage are by turns bitter, amusing, eye-opening—and altogether historical.